This photo released by Kensington Palace shows an official wedding photo of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, on the East Terrace of Windsor Castle. (Alexi Lubomirski/Kensington Palace via AP)
This photo released by Kensington Palace shows an official wedding photo of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, on the East Terrace of Windsor Castle. (Alexi Lubomirski/Kensington Palace via AP)

Harry and Meghan set for regional pit stop

NSW officials hope to whisk Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan Markle off to a regional pit stop when they visit Sydney on what's expected to be their first international tour as a royal couple - and Bathurst or the Hunter Valley are on the cards.

Full security and contingency planning is underway in NSW for an expected visit from the couple in October for the Invictus Games, as Sydney awaits official confirmation from Kensington Palace of the pair's attendance.

The Daily Telegraph has learned the state government will propose a regional city visit to the palace itinerary.

Contenders include Bathurst or the Hunter Valley, although no final decision has been made on what location or plan will be pitched.

The Queen famously hit an impressive swath of NSW regions in her 1954 tour, including Newcastle, Lismore, Casino, Dubbo, Wollongong, Bathurst, Katoomba, Lithgow and Wagga Wagga.

 

A regional visit has been proposed for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle when they are expected in Australia later this year. Picture: Reuters/Benoit Tessier
A regional visit has been proposed for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle when they are expected in Australia later this year. Picture: Reuters/Benoit Tessier

 

Kensington Palace and the royal couple will make the final decision on an itinerary, but the state government will also propose an official reception for the royal couple, a walkabout and time with Invictus athletes.

The pending visit of the royal couple is a major coup for the state.

 

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Bathurst is one of the contenders on the list.
Bathurst is one of the contenders on the list.

 

The Hunter Valley is also a favourite.
The Hunter Valley is also a favourite.

 

Two years ago when Veterans Affairs minister David Elliott fought fiercely for NSW to host the Invictus Games over other rival cities, he had no way of knowing he was securing what would be a major international event, with the world's hottest couple set to send images of Sydney viral.

Mr Elliott has now driven what will be Sydney's biggest celebrity event of the year.

He said yesterday: "As we followed the widespread royal wedding coverage it has been exciting to know that Sydney will be hosting Prince Harry's Invictus Games later this year.

"Our city is well-rehearsed in managing major events and high-profile guests. We recently welcomed the French President Emmanuel Macron, US Senator John McCain, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinta Ardern, US Vice-President Mike Pence and former First Lady Hillary Clinton.

"Invictus Games will bring a long list of dignitaries, which the city is prepared for. The Premier and I hope to host Prince Harry on Sydney Harbour this spring to further showcase our city on a global scale."

 

Veterans Affairs minister David Elliott fought fiercely for NSW to host the Invictus Games over other rival cities. Picture: Tim Pascoe
Veterans Affairs minister David Elliott fought fiercely for NSW to host the Invictus Games over other rival cities. Picture: Tim Pascoe

It has not been decided yet whether the royal visitors will be guests of the state or federal government.

The Daily Telegraph has been told the Premier and Prime Minister will work with Kensington Palace to ensure the royal program balances the Invictus Games schedule with other official duties and any personal time Prince Harry and the Duchess wish to have.



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